Happy Mother's Day, Moms of the world! I wanted to write this post, because of 1) Mother's Day, 2) there aren't actually a lot of Mom's featured in Children and Teen Literature, & 3) of the ones that are, they are pretty BAD ASS.
Growing up, I got pretty lucky. Not only did I have a Mom who was constantly giving up her time, energy and kindness to others & myself, BUT I ALSO had many book mothers. These Mom's (like my own-i'm not trying to get in trouble here ;) ) were strong. They fought for their kids. They protected them, cheered for them and were their number one fans. In reading about them, along with my own mother's praise, I think I managed to get a pretty big head. I can hear you all saying, "nooooo". However, humor aside, I learned how to implement all of these women's qualities into my own life. I grew up knowing the kind of person I wanted to be and continue to strive to be like them.
The women I'm talking about are featured in the following titles:
Favorite Quote (relating to Moms):
"At night I would trace my fingers around the edges of each animal on the quilt before I went to sleep I told my mother stories about the animals on the quilt. She told me whose sleeve had made the horse, whose apron had made the chicken, whose dress had made the flowers, and whose babushka went around the edge of the quilt." (Patricia Polacco)
This whole story is about family (Patricia's to be exact), and their tradition of keeping a special quilt alive. The reason I picked the quote above, was because it encourages storytelling between a Mother and her child.
I think by now, you all (as readers of my blog) should know that I have a thing with Kevin Henkes' work. BUT REALLY. He writes families and growing up so beautifully.
Here is my favorite quote:
""Oh, pish," said her mother. "Your name is beautiful."
"And precious and priceless and fascinating and winsom," said her father.
"It's everything you are," said her mother." (Kevin Henkes)
I think the reason I picked this quote is self-explanatory. I love that not only did her mother say that her name was beautiful, but also that it encompassed Chrysanthemum herself. Heartfelt confidence boosters are always a plus in my book.
I'm sorry you all! I just love Kevin's work! In The Year of Billy Miller, Kevin splits up Billy's life into four parts-His Dad, Mom, sister and teacher.
The quote I love most is at the end of the book, but if you haven't read it, DON'T WORRY! I really don't think that this will give away anything.
"He scanned the crowd for Mama, and he saw her instantly. She was right at the foot of the stage. Their eyes connected, and he knew that she'd been watching him. She'd heard him, even without the microphone on. She was smiling and nodding. " (Kevin Henkes)
I love this, because of how in-tune their connection is with one another. I think it speaks volumes in how Mom's kind of just know what's going on with their children instinctively.
This story, while about Cat and Maya, actually features their Mother's heritage a lot. While her daughters learn more about it and Dia de los Muertos, their mother states:
“I was your typical, stubborn American teenager. I wanted to do things the ‘modern’ way. I guess after your Abuela died . . . a lot of old traditions died with her.” (Raina Telgemeier)
I love this intimate look at a Mom and how she explains why her daughters are just discovering more of her.
Man, oh man, J.K. Rowling KNOWS how to write Mothers. The two I am sticking with for this post are Lily Potter and Molly Weasley. Below, you will find explanations in the form of quotes or statements of why they are great Moms:
Let's start with Molly-
""No one's denying what he's done!" said Mrs. Weasley, her voice rising, her fists trembling on the arms of her chair. "But he's still-"
"He's not a child!" said Sirius impatiently.
"He's not an adult either!" said Mrs. Weasley, the color rising in her cheeks. "He's not James, Sirius!""(J.K. Rowling)
This is a hard quote, no one is denying that. It's hard because Harry finally has a father figure in his life-a parent that he never got to have...EXCEPT for the fact that Molly has been a mother figure to him, ever since they met. Molly feels the same about Harry as one of her own children. This quote puts on page, that struggle. The struggle of wanting Harry to have someone, but also not wanting to give up her motherly duties towards him.
And then Lily-
I can't find the exact quotes at the moment- but Harry survived so much because of Lily. Her love, gave him protection from the most evil being in his world-more than once. Her love placed a protection over her sister's home, so that Harry would be safe there AND gave him protection in the form of Professor Snape. The main reason why Harry is able to defeat Voldemort SO MANY TIMES, is because of her love. So as readers, we know that it has to be incredibly strong.
Oh Wonder, how you made me cry. Like Henkes' The Year of Billy Miller, R. J. Palacio saves her tear-jerker for the end of her novel, in this quote:
"“You really are a wonder, Auggie. You are a wonder.”" (R. J. Palacio)
Auggie's Mother puts so much of her love and joy into this sentence that it makes your heart swell.
I chose the graphic novel version of this title, because there are some really sweet illustrated scenes between Percy and his Mom.
However, here is a quote from the book:
"When she looks at me, it's like she's seeing all the good things about me, none of the bad. I've never heard her raise her voice or say an unkind word to anyone..." (Rick Riordan)
This also radiates love. It's especially cool to see Percy realize the way his mom feels about him. Sally Jackson had to deal with so much, being Percy's Mom, the mom of a Demigod. However, she did it with so much strength, while fighting to make sure Percy was safe and happy.
Natalie Prior in Divergent is similar to that of Lily Potter or Sally Jackson. She too gives up her life for her child, and just like Percy, Tris knew exactly what her Mother must have been thinking.
"My mother's death was brave I remember how calm she was, how determined. It isn't just brave that she died for me; it is brave that she did it without announcing it, without hesitation, and without appearing to consider another option." (Veronica Roth)
Tris gets to see her Mother for who she was, while figuring out what bravery REALLY means.
This is another I don't have an exact quote for. However, our main character Starr's Mother, Lisa, is a force to be reckoned with. She is a fierce protector like the other Moms I've mentioned, but also knows how to give her daughter freedom. She steps back and lets her daughter make her own choices- whether it's boys or deciding what message she wants to share with the world. She also keeps secrets for her. She knows when to step in and when to step back, and that's something that I really appreciated about her character.
Frannie Lancaster is the Mom in this book. Though she is actually a bit over protective at times (can you blame her, her child is dying of cancer), she always has Hazel's best interest at heart. When Hazel wants to go to Amsterdam to meet and author, Mrs. Lancaster accompanies her and Gus there!
""What can we do?" Mom asked again.
But she kept asking, as if there were something she could do, until I just kind of crawled across the couch into her lap and my dad came over and held my legs really tight and I wrapped my arms all the way around my mom's middle and they held on to me for hours while the tide rolled in." (John Green)
I love the quote above because it shows how much a simple hug or the act of holding, can soothe a child. Sometimes that is what they need. I felt like Hazel's Mom was always ready for a hug.
Ugh. Similar to the book or two above, this was a rough read. The Mom in it, Kat Hall, although very different from her child, still manages to connect with her. As Mia loves classical music more and more, Kat and Mia's Dad buy her her own cello. Kat praises Mia and roots her on and she is waiting for an acceptance to Juliard. She is her biggest fan and I loved that about her character.
ALSO, for those of you who can't or do not celebrate Mother's Day, I would recommend the following:
This is a beautiful story. Stella doesn't have a Mom that she can bring to her class's Mother's Day celebration, so she brings her Dads...and a few other family members. It is sweet, funny and gives another perspective on the Holiday.
Circus Mirandus is about a boy who was raised by his Grandfather. Now that his Grandfather is gravely sick, Micah will do whatever it takes to get a mysterious lightbender to give him a miracle. I chose this book to feature because I know there are a lot of kids out there, who are raised by their Grandparents. The relationship between Micah and his Grandfather was endearing and would be a perfect read for some of those kids, as well as others.
That's it for this post! I hope you have a wonderful Holiday with those you hold dear, whether it be your Mom, Aunt, Grandmother, the opposite (Dad, Uncle or Grandfather), or even a really close friend.
<3 Jen in the Bookstore